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HomeMain News ( September 15, 2021 )

Susquehanna Borough Awarded Funding

By Valerie Senese

The regular scheduled meeting of Susquehanna Depot Borough took place on Wednesday, September 8th, the second Wednesday of the month at 7:00pm in the Borough Hall. Councilmembers Deb Zayas, Chrissy Vinsko, Roy Williams, Sue Crawford, JCP. Jayden Herbert and Rose Hendrickson were present, as was Mayor, Nancy Hurley.

Councilman Deb Zayas gave a report on the progress of the dedication ceremony of the Ira-Reynolds Riverfront Park. The event will take place on Tuesday, September 21st at 11:00am near the Ira-Reynolds Memorial. The formal ceremony will include a ribbon cutting with DEP, DCNR, the Borough and various people and organizations who worked to achieve what we now know as the Ira-Reynolds Park.

Following the update on the dedication ceremony was the community development report. With several items on the agenda, it started with an update that the Borough received a $19,500.00 no match grant from Pennsylvania WalkWorks, an initiative sponsored by the Department of Health and the Pennsylvania Downtown Center. Previously in the year, the Borough received a grant to motivate walking in the community by enhancing a walking route with signage, brochures and engaging activities. However, upon inspection by PennDOT, it was determined that the Borough did not have the infrastructure in place to continue approval, and with that, the Borough became the first community in the Commonwealth to be denied the grant due to inaccessibility. However, concerning the new active transportation plan, it was noted in the meeting that the Borough was one of the few grants that were funded and that they also received the full amount requested, unlike many other communities. A brief presentation was provided to explain what exactly an active transportation plan is, and what it can do for the community. First and foremost is public engagement on various modes of transportation such as: walking, running, cycling, wheeling and public transportation. The community can expect to see virtual public meetings, surveys on social media, mailings and walking surveys around town. This program is meant to hear from residents on how they would like to move around their community. Topics such as infrastructure updates, crosswalks, connectivity to other walking routes or communities, safety and comfort in walking, cycling and wheeling around, bike racks, e-bikes, community connectivity and more will be discussed by the public and a plan will be created to create tangible action steps to make a vision into reality. It was also mentioned that having a plan like this in place makes the small Borough a bigger competitor for larger grants such as the Keystone Communities grant, a large CFA grant, or a hefty Multi-Model.

Moving on from the active transportation update was a request to apply to the Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau for a grant to supply the new 14 acre Ira-Reynolds Riverfront Park with a welcome sign. This year, the Park was home to the new Rockin' by the River concert series, and as the park continues to grow, so will the events. These events, and other opportunities provide a home for destination travelers to access the community. This can support local businesses and foster things like overnight stays in the nearby Airbnb's. The sign process was lengthy and included dozens of volunteer hours from Marketing Hometown America signage committee members, Peter Bauman, Mary Butler and Kathy Matis. The council approved their grant submission with the Borough and was grateful for the work of the committee. Regarding committees, a report was given on the various committees from Marketing Hometown America: Community Beautification, Marketing and the Welcome Wagon have all been working hard to plan projects, garner new volunteers, and make the community a better place to live, work and play. After a few more updates that touched on a grant extension with EMHR, an update with the local Master Gardeners Community Stewardship program, and a discussion of special event permits, the meeting transitioned to the DPW department.

It was noted that it has become that time of year where leaf pickup will begin. President, Roy Williams, detailed that it is for leaves, and very small twigs. He emphasized that leaf pickup does not include branches. Residents can expect to see leaf pick up from October 18th to November 18th. Additionally, it was noted by the President that new solar light units will be placed along the existing un-lit portion of the walking path in the Ira-Reynolds Park, and that they are looking to have a volunteer day to install them. The Council was thankful and everyone nodded in approval. President Williams also noted that PennDOT has oiled and chipped Erie Avenue, and he provided a thank you to them for doing so. Moving on, Mayor Hurley took the time in her mayoral report to thank Councilman Chrissy Vinsko, EMC Dan Vinkso and Chief of Police, John Creamer for working hard to organize the first responders and 9/11 Memorial car show event. To that, everyone chirped a praise or two, and a there was a grateful but solemn atmosphere in the room as the event was discussed.

As the codes report came up, the room fell completely silent as members read through pages of codes enforcement officer Butch Kelseys report. As discussion began again, Butch Kelsey was thanked publicly for his dedication to the community.

Next up was the nomination from emergency management coordinator, Dan Vinsko, to propose Harold Kelsey III as the deputy emergency management coordinator for Susquehanna Borough. The Council agreed and Harold Kelsey was present in the meeting to accept. The Council will begin the process of getting him recorded with the Commonwealth and Susquehanna County.

The last report for the evening was from Chief of Police, Officer Creamer. He boasted a lengthy police report that was full of incidents, and made sure to inform everyone of a new scam happening in the community. The scam that he highlighted was concerning unemployment benefits. It seems that people are being notified that they have applied for unemployment benefits that they did not request. For more information regarding this scam, you can contact the Susquehanna Borough Police Department. During the report he requested the Council to consider mobile speed traps to cut down on the dangerous speeding throughout the community. Councilman Sue Crawford remarked her serious concern for the safety of the children on West Main Street, where she says trucks fly by well past the 25 MPH speed limit. Everyone in the room agreed that certain areas need more deterrents. Also presented were requests to consider: an offer from Oakland Borough to buy a gun for the police department at the assessed value of the gun in exchange for police hours, a donation from Oakland to Susquehanna for their existing police car, and a request for funds to pay for the band for the 9/11 car show. Before ending the meeting, Officer Creamer thanked Dan Vinsko for his assistance through the month with the storms in Town that led to debris and other situations that required local assistance.

The Council then dismissed the meeting for executive session citing legal review as their purpose.

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County Dairy Invite To Montrose Area Kiwanis Fundraiser

Submitted by Elizabeth Chidester, Dairy Promotion Committee Member

The Susquehanna County Dairy Promotion Team, along with Susquehanna County 4-H, invite you to a Chicken and Biscuit Dinner and Pie and Cake Auction on Saturday, September 25th, at 6:00pm. The fundraiser event is being planned by the Montrose Area Kiwanis and will take place at the VFW in Montrose along State Route 706.

Tickets will be available at the door, however it would be best if you reserve your dinner tickets and pay and pickup your tickets upon your arrival. Tickets are $12.00 each. To reserve your tickets contact Debbie Crisman (Kiwanis), Evie Goff (Susquehanna County Dairy Princess and Promotion, gofffarm@epix.net), or SarahRae Sisson (4-H). Takeout dinners are available. The dinner will be complete with a pie and cake auction taking place directly after dinner. If you are a pie or cake baker and would like to donate one for the auction contact any one of the above mentioned ladies.

So, what do the Susquehanna County Dairy Promoters and 4-Hers do in our county? The Susquehanna County Dairy Promotion Team allows young girls with a love for the dairy industry to have the ability to share their passion. The girls attend different events (and host their own events) where they get to serve dairy products, present speeches, and share their love of the dairy industry with others. The program teaches the girls about the benefits of dairy, gives them the opportunity to practice and become comfortable with public speaking, and get an inside look at the world within the dairy industry. In the 4-H program, youth are involved in learning a variety of skill-sets including learning about and exhibiting dairy animals, raising livestock, sewing, cooking, outdoor sports, and many more programs. 4-H introduces many different skills through its programs, and many children learn to love and excel in a variety of fields due to this program.

Susquehanna County Dairy Promotion and 4-H work closely together on a variety of events and strive to keep the youth involved in our community. For more information, dinner tickets or wishing to donate a pie or cake for the auction please contact Debbie Crisman (Kiwanis), Evie Goff (Susquehanna County Dairy Promotion), or SarahRae Sisson (4-H).

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Great Bend Considers Skidsteer

By Ted Brewster

Dan Stroka wants his employers to buy him a skidsteer. The options were the focus of much of the discussion at the meeting of the Great Bend Borough Council on September 2nd: what would it be used for, what model, how to pay for it?

But first, Council heard once again from Liz Landes, whose own focus remains the Lee Weigand Memorial Park. Delta engineers have provided her with a plan for the park's renovation with lots of trees and a dandy new entrance. Unfortunately, the plan would probably be too expensive for the money available. So she is looking for donations: stone for the entrance, and trees, lots of trees. And she is promoting the appearance of motivational speaker Earl Granville at VFW Recreation Park on Saturday, September 25 at 2:00pm. A wounded veteran, Mr. Granville is not charging for his appearance; all donations at the event will be used for the Weigand Park project.

Nothing to debate there, Council launched into consideration of all the angles involved in the possible purchase of a new skidsteer for about $46,000. Mr. Stroka provided a few bids, fielding questions about the machine's utility. He said it could do everything that the town's old tractor and backhoe do now, and more, what with all of the attachments that it can accommodate. So when Council member Jerry MacConnell wondered where the money would come from, the town's only part-time maintenance employee was asked to probe the vendors for possible trade-in values. Mr. Stroka said that the two older machines might bring as much as $3,000 each, sold privately. Borough Secretary Sheila Guinan told members that the town's street fund might be able to contribute $10,000 or so; the rest could be done with a small loan. Mr. Stroka will poll other vendors for further consideration next month.

In his report for the month of August, Police Chief Jon Record didn't note anything unusual. He did, however, spend over $700 for ammunition for his officers' 2021 and 2022 qualifications, noting delivery delays due to a national shortage of ammunition.

And next month Council will open bids for demolition of the structures on the Mead and Franks properties recently acquired by the Borough to augment VFW Recreation Park. A survey of the properties is nearing completion.

There is some concern about the impact on the Borough of the major projects planned for the nearby Interstate 81. But, with nothing to be done about it, Council will meet again in October, on the 7th, beginning at 7:00pm in the Borough Building at Elizabeth & Franklin Streets.

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